Samuel Robert Gardner, son of John Samuel Gardner and his wife Sarah Elizabeth, was living in the Cape Colony by 1882 and at that time was of adult age. In 1905 he resided at Cyphergat, just south-east of Molteno, in the Eastern Cape. In 1910 he and Miss Ida Gardner, probably his daughter or niece, presented a series of fossil plants from Cyphergat to the Albany Museum, Grahamstown. These plant fossils occur in bands of shale, interbedded with low quality coal seams, which form part of the Molteno Formation. The director of the museum, John Hewitt*, sent one of the specimens, in the form of a partially carbonized impression of a portion of a bipinnate fern frond, to Professor A.C. Seward* in Cambridge, England. Seward (1912) described it as the type specimen of a new genus and named the species Stormbergia gardneri, after the collector.
Gardner was married to Sarah Jane Gardner and had a son.